Often a prospective student or stakeholder asks, what can you do with a degree in soil and water sciences or interdisciplinary studies: environmental management in agriculture and natural resources (IS-EMANR). The quick answer is a lot. Depending on the focus of your elective courses, your minor, your internship(s), and your extracurriculars, the possibilities are too numerous to list. One example is Katharine Frey (IS-EMANR 2021), a policy staff writer at Ballotpedia:
“During the spring of 2021, I was a communications intern for Ballotpedia,” Frey said. “I helped create and curate social media content for their Facebook and Twitter accounts, assisted readers with any questions or concerns they had, contacted journalists to promote election coverage, and tracked site analytics.”
After the internship ended, she heard about an open position on Ballotpedia’s policy team that would cover criminal justice reform.
“Given my background in African American studies, I thought this would be a great entry-level position for me and would help to sharpen my writing skills,” Frey explained. Managers agreed and hired her full-time.
As a policy writer, Frey assists in collecting data and writing content for the criminal justice project and education policy project. That includes analyzing police union collective bargaining agreements and creating articles explaining key terms and concepts. She also researches state codes and statutes regarding regulation and oversight of education and criminal justice policy among other things.
I’m grateful for all the experiences the University of Florida and the Environmental Management program gave me, as it was monumental in my evolution from a student to a professional.
Frey credits her overall experience at UF and lessons learned in the IS-EMANR degree program for preparing her for her current career.
“Courses like Chemistry 1 & 2 as well as Environmental Biogeochemistry definitely molded my analytic skills while courses like GIS in Soil and Water Sciences helped to hone my technical skills that are necessary for my job,” she said. “Additionally, my course work as an African American studies minor was instrumental in expanding my world view and garnering a greater perspective as to how discriminatory systems create societal inequities and cause harm to marginalized communities.”
Frey is also preparing to go back to school. She is enrolling in a master’s degree program focused on social work.
“My goal is to better understand how certain societal deficiencies — like poverty, racism, sexism, etc. — create systemic failures and how such can be mended using public policy,” she said. “I would hope, once I graduate, to work in the political sphere, whether it be as an analyst or for a nonprofit that focuses on combatting racism and/or expanding access to voting resources.”